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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Happening Squares




The Ingredients:

Topping
  • 120 cc (or ½ cup) of pecans
  • 15 g (or 1 tablespoon) of butter
  • stevia equivalent of 12 g (or 1 tablespoon) of sugar
  • 1.5 g (or ½ teaspoon) of powdered cinnamon

Cake
  • 30 g (or 2 tablespoons) of butter
  • 60 ml (or ¼ cup) of coconut cream
  • stevia equivalent of 100 g (or ½ cup) of sugar
  • 5 ml (or 1 teaspoon) of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 100 g (or 1 cup) of almond flour
  • 10 g (or 2 tablespoons) of all-purpose flour
  • 2.5 g (or ½ teaspoon) of baking soda
  • 3 g (or ½ teaspoon) of salt
  • 1.5 g (or ½ teaspoon) of powdered cinnamon
  • 1 apple, weighing approximately 175 g (or 6 oz)

The Method:

Topping
  1. Butter a square or rectangular baking pan, approximately 20 x 20 cm (or 8 x 8 inch).
  2. Set the oven to 175°C (or 350°F).
  3. Prepare the topping by first chopping the pecans to the desired size for a crumbly texture.
  4. Melt the butter, and add the stevia and cinnamon, stirring to distribute evenly.
  5. Add the pecans to the butter mixture and stir to coat the nut pieces with the butter.
Cake
  1. Prepare the wet ingredients by first melting the butter.
  2. Place the coconut cream, egg, stevia, and vanilla in a medium-size mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk to break up the egg.
  4. Add the melted butter and continue to whisk until the mixture is homogeneous.
  5. Prepare the dry ingredients by placing the almond flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon into a medium-size mixing bowl.
  6. Stir thoroughly, breaking up any lumps of almond flour, until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  7. Prepare the apple by washing and drying it, then dicing it into cubes approximately 6 mm (or ¼ inch) in diameter.
  8. Add the apple cubes to the dry ingredients mixture, and stir to cover each piece of apple with flour.
  9. Add the flour-apple mixture to the wet ingredients and stir quickly and thoroughly to make a soft dough.
  10. Turn the dough out into the greased baking pan and spread it evenly across the bottom.
  11. Sprinkle the pecan topping over the dough.
  12. Lightly and rapidly press the pecan topping down so the larger pieces are halfway into the dough.
  13. Immediately place the baking pan into the oven.
  14. Bake the cake for 30 minutes.
  15. Cool the baking pan on a rack before cutting the cake into Happening bars or squares.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

All Green Salsa

All Green Salsa on a blackened catfish taco with sour cream, chili sauce, and Aloha Guacamole, also in this blog


The Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 or 3 tomatillos, weighing approximately 110 to 140 g (or 4 to 5 oz)
  • 110 g (or 4 oz) of onion
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, weighing approximately 110 g (or 4 oz)
  • 7 ml (or 1½ teaspoons) of a pepper or chili sauce such as Tabasco
  • salt

The Method:
  1. Peel the garlic and smash the cloves using a mortar and pestle, adding a small amount of salt so that the garlic becomes smooth and foamy or creamy. (This could alternatively be done using a garlic press and mashing the salt in with a fork.)
  2. Peel and wash the tomatillos then cut them into rough slices.
  3. Peel the onion and chop it into medium chunks
  4. Wash the cilantro, remove the larger stems, and roughly chop the leaves and upper stems.
  5. Place the garlic, tomatillos, onion, and cilantro into a blender.
  6. Add the pepper or chili sauce, and 15 ml (or 1 tablespoon) of water.
  7. Blend at high speed to purée the salsa, adding more water if necessary.
  8. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.

Salad from Senegal




The Ingredients (for 6 servings):
  • 225 g (or 1 cup) of fonio, an African grain, preferably a well hulled and clean brand such as Earth's Goodness
  • 10 g (or 2 teaspoons) of salt
  • 1 or 2 mangoes, weighing approximately 450 g (or 16 oz)
  • 1 small red onion, weighing approximately 240 g (or 8 oz)
  • 1 medium Japanese cucumber, weighing approximately 300 g (or 10 oz)
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of Italian flat-leaf parsley,  weighing approximately 100 g (or 3½ oz)
  • 1 bunch of mint, weighing approximately 60 g (or 2 oz)
  • a few sprigs of basil,  weighing approximately 15 g (or ½ oz)
  • 60 ml (or ¼ cup) of lemon juice
  • 180 ml (or ¾ cup) of salad grade olive oil
Keith mangoes—sweet and tangy with
small, flat seeds and no long fibers

    The Method:
    1. Place 2 cups of water into a small saucepan that has a fitted lid, add the salt, and bring the water to a boil over high heat.
    2. Meanwhile, if necessary, rinse 1 cup of fonio in a bowl of water and pour off the water. Repeat this until the rinse water is clear. (With Earth's Goodness product pictured above, this step is not necessary.)
    3. When the salted water boils, turn the burner to its lowest possible setting, pour the fonio into the pan, and immediately place the lid on the pan.
    4. After 5 minutes, remove the lid and stir the fonio thoroughly with a fork or fine-bladed spatula to break up congealed lumps of the cooked cereal.
    5. Remove the pan from the stove and replace the lid, allowing the fonio to cool.
    6. From time to time, repeat step 4 until the fonio is at room temperature.
    7. Place the fonio into the refrigerator or freezer to further cool it until it reaches a temperature suitable for assembling the salad.
    8. As the fonio cools, prepare the other salad ingredients by first peeling the mango and slicing it into approximately 1.5-cm (or ½-inch) cubes.
    9. Peel and dice the red onion into the same size cubes.
    10. Wash and dice the cucumber into the same size cubes.
    11. Wash the cherry tomatoes and halve them.
    12. Wash and dry the parsley, mint, and basil, remove the leaves from the tougher stems, and chop them finely.
    13. Place the lemon juice in a small bowl or measuring cup and drizzle the olive oil in, whisking with a fork to form an emulsion. (Alternatively, my preference is to place lemon juice and olive oil in a small, screw-top jar and shake it vigorously for several seconds, giving a better emulsion.)
    14. When the fonio is cool, empty it into a salad bowl.
    15. Add the prepared salad ingredients and toss to distribute them evenly throughout the fonio.
    16. Toss again, adding the salad dressing sparingly until all of the salad has a thin coating.
    17. If you have them on hand, sprinkle shelled pistachios on the top of the salad before serving.

      The Story:

      I modified somewhat a recipe that I found on The Splendid Table website for this salad. In particular, I added instructions on how to cook fonio, an easy but quite specific technique.

      Sunday, May 27, 2018

      Humble (apple) Pie


      The Ingredients:

      Pie crust
      • 310 g (or 2½ cups) of unbleached, all-purpose flour
      • 5  g (or ¾ teaspoons) of salt
      • 80 ml (or ⅓ cup) of grapeseed oil (or equivalent mild tasting, high smoke-point vegetable shortening)
      • 115 g (or 4 oz) of unsalted butter
      • 60 ml (or ¼ cup) of iced water
        Honeycrisp apples almost live up to their designation; they
         are not  quite honey-sweet, and that's all for the better

      Filling
      • 30 ml (or 2 tablespoons) of lemon juice
      • stevia equivalent of 150 g (or ¾ cup) of sugar
      • 1.8 kg (or 4 lb) of apples such as Honeycrisp (my current favorite)
      • 15 g (or 2 tablespoons) of ground flaxseed meal
      • 2.5 g (or 1 teaspoon) of ground cinnamon
      • 0.5 g (or ¼ teaspoon) of ground nutmeg
      • 0.5 g (or ¼ teaspoon) of ground allspice
      • 30 g (or 1 oz) of unsalted butter
      • 2 g (or ¼ teaspoon) of salt

      The Method:

      Pie crust
      1. Place the flour, salt, and grapeseed oil into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade.
      2. Blend briefly to distribute the oil evenly.
      3. Cut the 115 g (or 4 oz) of butter into approximately 1-cm (or ¾-inch) dice, and put them into the food processor.
      4. Pulse the food processor until the butter pieces are approximately the size of petite peas.
      5. While blending at low speed, add the water gradually just until the dough forms a ball. If necessary, add more water to form the dough ball. Stop grinding immediately.
      6. Remove the dough ball onto a lightly floured large board or countertop, knead it briefly to expel any air pockets, and roll it into a fat, short log.
      7. Cut the log into two pieces; one (for the pie top) about twice as long as the other (for the pie bottom and sides).
      8. Stand each piece on end, and press gently down to form discs of dough about 2 cm (or ¾ inch) thick.
      9. Pick up each disk and roll it along the floured surface until the edges are smooth, and slightly thickened.
      10. Cover the pastry disks individually with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator for 30 to 40 minutes.

      Filling
      1. Place the lemon juice and stevia into the bottom of a large mixing bowl and swirl or stir to mix them well.
      2. Peel the apples and cut them into slices approximately ½ cm (or ¼ inch) thick. 
      3. As you slice each apple, place the slices into the mixing bowl and toss them with a spoon to coat them with the lemon juice mixture.
      4. In a small bowl, place the flaxseed, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice,vanilla powder, and salt. (If you have it on hand, pure vanilla bean powder may be added sparingly to this mixture.)
      5. Mix the spices thoroughly, then sprinkle the mixture onto the apple slices and toss them in the bowl until all of the apple is evenly seasoned.

      Pie
      1. Use a small amount of butter to grease a pie dish 25 cm (or 9 inches) in diameter and 5 cm (or 2 inches) deep.
      2. Turn on the oven and set it to 220°C (or 425°F).
      3. Reflour the board or countertop if necessary and remove the dough from the refrigerator.
      4. Roll out the larger dough disk, turning it several times to redistribute the flour and ensure that it does not get sticky. Keep doing this until the dough sheet is approximately 40 cm (or 16 inches) in diameter.
      5. Lightly and loosely roll up the dough sheet, lift it gently, and unroll it onto the buttered pie dish so that it fits snugly into the bottom of the dish and its edges hang over the rim. 

      6. Place the spiced apple filling into the pie crust, compacting the pieces so that they fit together well without much air space between slices.
      7. Dice the 28 g (or 1 oz) of butter and sprinkle the pieces across the top of the filling.
      8. Roll out the smaller dough disk, turning it several times to redistribute the flour and ensure that it does not get sticky. Keep doing this until the dough sheet is approximately 35 cm (or 14 inches) in diameter.
      9. Make decorative cuts in the center of the dough sheet, or prick it in several places with a fork to make small holes so that steam can escape during baking.
      10. Lightly and loosely roll up the dough sheet, lift it gently, and unroll it onto the buttered pie dish so that it fits perfectly over the pie dish.
      11. Using a fork or your fingers, press the edges of the pie top and the pie crust together all around the pie and, if you like, trim them neatly to the edge of the pie dish with a knife.
      12. Place the pie in the oven for 20 minutes at 220°C (or 425°F) then lower the temperature and bake it for another 40 to 50 minutes at 190°C (or 375°F). Check the pie often after 40 minutes (i.e. after 1 hour in the oven) and remove it from the oven when you can see or hear that the filling is bubbling.
      13. Cool the pie in the dish on a rack before trying to cut and serve it.

      The Story:

      This is the sugar-substituted version of a recipe on the King Arthur Flour website, a great place to learn how to bake. I buy their flours whenever they are available out here on the island. As you can see from the second photo, above, King Arthur All-purpose Flour was not available when I baked this pie.


          Friday, April 20, 2018

          Pad Thai Gai

          Pad Thai Gai with steamed Chinese long beans


          The Ingredients (for 4 to 5 servings):

          • 300 g (or 12 oz) of extra-firm tofu
          • 4 lime leaves
          • 45 ml (or 3 tablespoons) of tamarind paste
          •  stevia equivalent of 30 g (or 2 tablespoons) of sugar
          • 30 ml (or 2 tablespoons) of fish sauce
          • 2 g (or 1 teaspoon) of ground Cayenne pepper
          • 680 g (or 1½ lb) of boneless chicken
          • 6 cloves of garlic, weighing approximately 30 g (or 1 oz)
          •  2 shallots, weighing approximately 120 g (or 4 oz)
          • 50 g (or ⅓ cup) of sweet preserved radish. (I used a local, Korean-inspired pickled daikon.)
          • 4 eggs
          • 50 g (or ⅓ cup) of unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
          • 1 large or 2 smaller scallions weighing approximately 40 g (or 1½ oz), or the equivalent amount of Chinese chives
          • 225 g (or 8 oz) of brown rice noodles
          • 4 cups of mung or soybean sprouts weighing approximately 275 g (or 10 oz)
          • salt
          • white pepper
          • cooking grade olive oil

            The Method:
            1. Three to four hours before you intend to serve this dish, press the tofu by placing it between two flat plates next to a sink, and putting a weight on top.
              (I used a full water pitcher for the weight.)
            2. About half an hour before serving time, wash the lime leaves and slice them finely. 
            3. Mix together the tamarind paste, stevia, fish sauce, Cayenne pepper, and lime leaves in a large bowl.
            4. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and place them in the bowl with the tamarind marinade.
            5. Mix the marinade thoroughly into the chicken and place the bowl into the refrigerator.
            6. Grind or smash the garlic cloves with a small amount of salt until the mixture becomes shiny or foamy.
            7. Chop the shallots finely.
            8. Chop the preserved radish into small slivers.
            9. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk them with a fork until yolks and whites are thoroughly mixed.
            10. Chop the peanuts into small pieces and set them aside.
            11. Chop the chives or scallions finely.
            12. Discard the water that has been pressed out of the tofu, wipe the tofu dry, and cut it into 20 or 25 cubes.
            13. Heat a wok or skillet over high heat and add olive oil to a depth sufficient to fry the tofu cubes.
            14. Place the tofu cubes into the oil and stir-fry them until they turn a light tan color, then set them aside in a small bowl.
            15. Place the dry rice noodles into a bowl that will hold them easily and place a colander on top of the bowl.
            16. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to boiling point.
            17. Blanch the bean sprouts for 1 minute in the boiling water then drain them in a colander set over the bowl of noodles. Add cold water to the bowl until the noodles are completely submersed.
            18. Rinse the bean sprouts with cold water, then set them aside in the colander.
            19. Meanwhile, allow the noodles to soak for a few minutes in the hot water while stir-frying the aromatics.
            20. Reheat the wok or skillet over high heat, using only enough of the olive oil to coat the bottom and sides generously.
            21. Add the shallot, garlic, and preserved radish and stir-fry until some pieces are starting to turn brown.
            22. Immediately drain the noodles in a colander and add them to the wok, stir-frying to coat them with a thin film of olive oil.
            23. Add the chicken pieces, setting aside excess marinade.
            24. Stir-fry until the chicken is lightly browned on all sides.
            25. Turn the heat to low, and push the noodle mixture to one side of the wok or skillet.
            26. Pour the beaten egg into the cleared part of the skillet and stir-fry it vigorously until it is completely cooked.
            27. Chop the cooked egg into small pieces with the thin edge of the cooking spatula.
            28. Continue stir-frying to mix the egg into the noodle mixture. 
            29. Taste the noodle mixture and add some of the reserved marinade, if necessary, to enhance taste or noodle texture. (I used all of it.)
            30. Turn the heat to low, add the tofu, bean sprouts, and scallions or chives, and sprinkle with white pepper. 
            31. Mix well, and turn the pad thai gai out onto a serving dish.
            32. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts on top or serve them separately in a bowl.

              The Story:

              With whole-grain, brown rice noodles and a sauce slightly sweetened with stevia, this pad thai is an excellent choice for an Asian meal with a low glycemic index. I based it on a recipe found on the Taste of Asian Food web site.

              Wednesday, March 7, 2018

              Flatiron Fajitas




              The Ingredients (for 4 to 6 servings):

              Salsa:

              • 6 to 8 tomatillos, weighing approximately 450 g (or 1 lb)
              • 1 medium red onion, weighing approximately 225 g (or 8 oz)
              • 4 cloves of garlic, weighing approximately 15 g (or ½ oz)
              • 30 ml (or 2 tablespoons) of cooking grade olive oil
              • 1 bunch of cilantro, weighing approximately 43 g (or 1½ oz)
              •  1 lime
              • 1 whole jalapeño or 2 whole Hawaiian chilis or the equivalent

              Cream
              •  30 ml (or 2 tablespoons) of mayonnaise
              • 45 ml (or 3 tablespoons) of prepared horseradish
              •  45 ml (or 3 tablespoons) of almond milk
              • 55 g (or 2 oz) of feta cheese

              Steak
              •  900 g (or 2 lb) of flatiron steak
              •  10 g (or 1½ tablespoons) of ground cumin
              • 8 g (or 1½ tablespoons) of ground coriander
              • 10 g (or 1½ tablespoons) of hot paprika
              • salt
              •  pepper
              •  cooking grade olive oil

              The Method:

              Tomatillo Salsa
              1. At least 2 hours before cooking the steak, make the salsa by first husking then washing the tomatillos. Cut each in half and place them in a medium bowl.
              2. Peel the onion and slice it thinly, then add the onion slices to the bowl.
              3. Bruise and peel the garlic cloves, then add them to the bowl.
              4. Add the olive oil and mix it in until every piece of vegetable is lightly coated.
              5. Spread the tomatillo mixture out onto a baking sheet or broiler pan covered with aluminum foil. Place the tomatillos with their skins facing upward.
              6. Turn on the broiler to high and, when it is hot, place the pan of vegetables under it, at a distance of about 7.5 to 10 cm (or 3 to 4 inches). 
              7. Broil the tomatillo mixture until the vegetables are beginning to char, approximately 8 to 10 minutes.
              8. Set the tomatillo mixture aside to cool.
              9. Meanwhile, wash the cilantro and chop it roughly, then place it into a blender or food processor.
              10. Zest the lime, and add it to the food processor.
              11. Squeeze the lime, and add the juice and pulp to the food processor.
              12. Wash the chili pepper(s) and chop them finely, then add them to the food processor.
              13. When the tomatillo mixture is cooled, add this also to the food processor and purée to the desired consistency.

              14. Set the salsa aside to develop and blend the flavors.
              Horseradish Cream
              1. At least one hour before cooking the steak, make the horseradish cream by combining the mayonnaise, horseradish, almond milk, and crumbled feta in a blender.
              2. Blend until there are no lumps of cheese. If necessary, adjust the proportions of the ingredients and blend again so that the consistency is like that of a thick cream.
              3.  Place the horseradish cream in the refrigerator.
              Flatiron Steak
              1. Rinse the flatiron steak briefly, pat it dry, and place it on a wide board or platter.
              2. Heat a griddle or skillet to high.
              3. While the griddle is heating, place the cumin, coriander, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and mix well to combine them evenly.
              4. Sprinkle or rub the seasoning mixture onto both sides of the steak.
              5.  When the griddle is hot, spray or lightly spread olive oil all over it.
              6. Place the seasoned steak onto the griddle and cook it undisturbed for 4 to 5 minutes.
              7. Turn the steak and cook the other side for 4 to 5 minutes also.

              The Fajita:

              Cut the flatiron steak into thin slices across the grain. Serve with soft, warmed tortillas, crisp lettuce leaves, and the tomatillo salsa and horseradish cream.

              The Story:

              This dish is adapted from a recipe I found on a website called The Chew.